Friday, 27 January 2012

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (PC) - Guest Post

A combination of explosive MECHA and real-life NEKO!

Yes, it's Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six! I shamelessly nicked its logo for my banner and it's not even really an FPS at all. Or is it!

Click these pictures to view them at ultra high 1024x768 resolution! Except for the planning interface, which is stuck at a super helpful 640x480.

I understand that Rainbow Six is fiendishly hard, even on the easiest difficulty setting. I want to play this game properly, so before I attempt the game for real, I will complete all of the tutorial levels first.

This is the first Hostage Rescue tutorial mission: Office I. I've got a team of four men and we have to rescue some unknown number of hostages from a small building-like layout. There's no planning screen for this tutorial, just action.

I can't seem to give my men any orders. There's no controls on the options screen other than hold position and change rules of engagement. (I think so anyway. You have to quit to the main menu to get to the options screen, so I'm not going back to check.)

The team seems intent to trace my exact path. I move backwards, they all run into my face. And then I get shot by an enemy hiding in one of the side rooms.

From the looks of the map, it seems that my team already has a plan in place. Without my interference, they're free to pursue it. From my nice vantage point here dead on the floor, I get to watch the action unfold. One by one the Blue team walk into the corridor.

And shortly fall down like so many dominoes.

So I try again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again.

"Man down! Need backup!"

Even with the game's very powerful auto-aim, I can't see the enemies before they see me. I swear they're firing through walls sometimes. The remaining team members don't do much better without me. My best score (one man completes the mission alive) was when I told the team to hold position outside the level and used them like extra lives. I can't change the man I'm controlling within the team (until I'm dead), so I can't leave the men lying around as traps.

When, through sheer luck, I complete the mission with three man on Green condition and one on Orange (incapacitated but alive), I move on to Hostage Rescue, Office II. This time, the four men are split into two different teams. I give the signal for the second team to move in and we both clear the corridor together. Then they walk towards me past the open doorways and get shot. And then I very slowly slide up to where they died and get shot too.

So I try again. It takes about twenty tries, but eventually I roll double sixes and everybody lives, more or less.

I think I'm ready for the real deal!

Somebody's being held hostage at the Embassy. Time to assemble a team.

Leader: Domingo 'Ding' Chavez. Solid Snake of Rainbow. Knows a million languages and is a master of all forms of armed and unarmed combat. Angriest man in the universe.

From what I know of the Rainbow Six books, Ding is the main guy, so he's got awesome stats in everything. The 'RESERVE' guys I was using in the tutorial have crap stats, which I hope explains why the tutorial missions kept going so badly.

I used to think that Santiago Arnavisca was the main guy until I realised that the roster was just an alphabetical list.

Ugh... this is complicated. I can't be bothered learning the interface.

The tutorial missions didn't go so badly (HAHAHA), so I'll wing it. The worst that could happen is that the terrorists execute the hostage. No, wait. The worst that could happen is that I execute the hostage and then blow myself up with a grenade.

Two teams of four. Ding leads the Blue team and some other guy leads the Red team.

Hit it!

Front entrance is locked and impassible. Side entrance on the right. Go go go!

You've got to be fast. Inhumanly fast. I am so surprised to not be dead right now.

Go Ding!

Okay, I've cleared this room, let me out. LET ME OUT, DAMN IT. *push push push*

If you guys don't start paying more attention, you're going to get yourselves killed!

I walk into a room with a lone man in it and I hear gunshots. JESUS CHRIST GUYS. You're supposed to be WATCHING MY BACK!

Bogart and Burke are both shot in the back and incapacitated before I can react. The sad music comes on. It's just Chavez and Arnavisca now.

I don't feel right splitting the Blues up like this. As useless as they were just now, four guys are better than two.

Epic team switch! Red team, you're up!

What... where the bloody hell is this?

While Chavez and Arnavisca cover the balcony, Haider's Red team spot a fire escape on the other side of the building.

Can we climb it?

You betcha! Go go go!

More like 'Go go get stuck on each other'. With a bit of cajoling, I manage to get the team leader to the door so he can open it. The bad guys have to be expecting us with the racket we just made. I don't know why I can't order the other guys to open the door for me. I don't seem to have any control over any of the Rainbow men whatsoever other than the one I'm directly controlling.

Haider and crew make an efficient sweep of the naff-looking rooms on the second floor of the Embassy building. I make sure to avoid actually entering a room if I can help it, lest I be stuck there forever.

I kill some more bad guys and the screen goes black. Then this picture comes up.


Ding Chavez is 'wounded', but he's still okay. Bogart and Burke from his team are both well also. Everybody's okay! It's a God damn miracle!

It's time for a night mission in the Congo. This time we're in four teams of two. Not that it matters much thanks to not being able to give orders in the field.

Hostage located.

It takes me a while, but I cycle through the team's gearbox and find one labelled 'ESCORT' which causes the hostage to leap up and run right into my face. They came this close. Too close.

What happened to the Red team?

That's a funny story.

Not particularly funny for them, perhaps.

After parking Chavez in front of the main staircase inside the house, I took the Reds to the side of the house where a set of stairs leads to the basement. Rather than foolishly walk right up to the obvious trap, I decide to try a grenade.

You can see in Burke's emotionless face that he's resigned to the fact that, once again, I have killed a counter-terrorist team with their own grenades.

Arnavisca, Haider and the Red team are dead, Ding's incapacitated. It's not going well.

Damn you, murder house! Damn you for causing so much death!

The worst part is that after clearing out the house and finding the hostage, we were ambushed by one last bad guy and the hostage was killed. If I hadn't blown up the Reds, they would have been parked in exactly the right place to get him.

This time, we're doing things right. I've got a plan. Want to see it?

Here it is:

Simple as, right?

On 'Alpha', the teams take positions behind a barn in front of the house. On 'Beta', Ding storms the North side of the house while Bogart clears the basement (properly this time). On 'Charlie', Ding escorts the hostage out of the building while the rest cover him.

At least, I hope that's what the plan is. I just clicked arrows all over the place until it looked like the teams covered the whole area.

You have to pick a team to control yourself, so I'm controlling the Gold team who stay out of the way on Super AIG photo detail.

It's looking good so far!

I do what I can to help out. All the weapons seem to have an 8X scope attached to them and they're perfectly accurate (provided you're not moving).

There's no background music, but there are 'stealth' and 'action' audio cues when things happen. I can hear my team firing from miles away. The AI Rainbow operatives seem to be doing rather well. I guess that's because I'm not standing around like a lemon in front of them when they want to fire now. Clickety-click. "Threat neutralised."

I cross my fingers. C'mon Ding!

"Escorting Precious Cargo."

No One Can Stop Mr. Domingo Chavez!

Everybody's okay, except Arnavisca, who got himself incapacitated AGAIN. Better than him dying. If he dies, he's dead. No more Arnavisca for the rest of the game.

The next level: psycho pseudo-environmentalist terrorists have seized control of an oil rig and planted bombs. Just another day at work for International Rescue.

This time there's a twist: if I'm discovered, they set off the bombs.

Just like before, my plan is 'walk into every room in turn and deal with what's there'. I don't know if there's any way I can have finer control over what my teams do.

I don't know if this interface is that helpful. It's hard to see what is and what isn't an enclosed area is on this screen. It's very possible that I've ordered my men to walk past the bombs, through tripwires or across wide open windows next to rooms full of men. I've put Demolitions experts as the team leaders, so hopefully they'll know what to do if they come across bombs.

It's a neat idea being able to order the other teams to do things while you're busy, but I need to know more about what I'm seeing.

There seems to be built in plans you can use, but they're useless for studying as they're so tangled up.

It would be much easier if I could place orders during a mission, but I don't think I can. When a team runs out of orders, they report 'Waiting for Orders' as if I can do something about it. If I could pause the game at any time and float around placing objective markers in the real game 3D view, that would be dandy.

It's gone horribly wrong. The Red team, including the mighty Ding, all died simultaneously. If they blew themselves up, it wasn't me! I was nowhere near them!

I was controlling the Green guy, who got himself killed on his own little misadventure.

Now that the Blues are the only ones left standing, I have to assume control of them, which interrupts their AI commands and leaves me completely lost. Did they disarm any bombs? I have no idea!

There's no checkpoints, loading or saving during a mission. Not even on the easiest difficulty. Alt-Tab makes the game crash, which is fun.

I can see the route I plotted for the AI on the radar, so I just follow that and hope for the best. I do a super stealthy slidey-slide past every entrance and hope that I can shoot first.

Hey, I just noticed that we're using shotguns on this mission. I thought it would've stuck with the same selection I made in the last mission (suppressed MP5), but it must've defaulted to shotgun for this one. Who takes a shotgun on a stealth mission!?

A smart guy, apparently. These shotguns have infinite range, massive spread and kill instantly regardless of where on the body they hit. Combined with the auto-aim (which I immediately turned off), you win if you can click the mouse button before the computer can. And since the computer doesn't have to click the mouse button, you've got entirely luck-based encounters.

They must be quieter than they sound, too. How the hell have we not been discovered yet? Why didn't the bombs go off when the Red team were discovered?

I kill another couple of bad guys and the screen goes black. And then it says I've won! I don't know what happened to the bombs; my teams must have disabled them before everything went to pants. This doesn't feel like much of a victory. They stopped Domingo.

Well, that's enough of that. If you like testing both your reactions and your luck (mostly your luck), Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six is for you.

If getting killed instantly by things you can't see frustrates you, and having to restart missions due to factors outside of your control makes you want to tear your game disc in half, TC'sRS is not for you.

So... nobody then? I dunno. Some people legitimately like to play those bizarre Mario-like games where the normal rules go out the window and everything tries to kill you.


  1. My friend gave me a PC copy about ten years ago. I loved it

  2. What? Arnavisca is one of the top characters

  3. Ee-yup.

    If you want a modern-day, squad-based FPS where one burst kills and you have to try missions over and over and over again, try SWAT 4. It has no planning screen and a pretty slick interface for looking through other peoples' helmet cams and giving them orders remotely. It's also built around gadgets like flashbangs, so instead of dying in luck-based encounters you die because you threw the 'nade in the bathroom when bad guy #9 was in the closet this time.

    It's pretty much about doors.

    SWAT 3 is clunkier, but manageable, and I gather starting with it is much less annoying than starting with 4 and trying to go backwards. SWAT 2 is an unusual RTS without the control scheme to back it up. SWAT 1 would have a moment of exquisite torture for Ray, but is still better off forgotten.

    1. Oh good idea, I'm going to cunningly manipulate mecha-neko into playing SWAT 3! Somehow.

      I'll work on it.

  4. R6 Raven Shield (with it's addon Athena Sword) was, for me, the best in the R6 series.

  5. And I liked the planing option with Rules of Engagement (RoE) and go-codes, firing arcs, etc. The only thing I didn't like in R6 games (prior to Vegas and Vegas 2) was that you couldn't equip silencer together with optics and c-mag on most weapons. That was changed in R6 Vegas - every now and then during missions you find weapon lockers where you can choose a different weapon and you can customize it as you like. And silencer was freely used (you could have removed and reatached it at any point). From the Tom Clancy's franchise I also liked Ghost Recon series and Splinter Cell series (yes including SC: Blacklist, even without Michael Ironside as the voice actor for Sam Fisher).


Semi-Random Game Box